Text of Joint Statement on Refugees
The following is the text of a communique issued by the United States and Cuba on the exodus of Cuban refugees:
Representatives of the United States of America and the Republic of Cuba (Friday) concluded talks concerning their mutual interest in normalizing migration procedures and agreed to take measures to ensure that migration between the two countries is safe, legal, and orderly.
Safety of Life at Sea
The United States and the Republic of Cuba recognize their common interest in preventing unsafe departures from Cuba which risk loss of human life. The United States underscored its recent decisions to discourage unsafe voyages. Pursuant to those decisions, migrants rescued at sea attempting to enter the United States will not be permitted to enter the United States, but instead will be taken to safe-haven facilities outside the United States. Further, the United States has discontinued its practice of granting parole to all Cuban migrants who reach U.S. territory in irregular ways. The Republic of Cuba will take effective measures in every way it possibly can to prevent unsafe departures using mainly persuasive methods.
The United States and the Republic of Cuba reaffirm their support for the recently adopted United Nations General Assembly resolution on alien smuggling. They pledged their cooperation to take prompt and effective action to prevent the transport of persons to the United States illegally. The two governments will take effective measures in every way they possibly can to oppose and prevent the use of violence by any persons seeking to reach, or who arrive in, the United States from Cuba by forcible diversions of aircraft and vessels.
The United States and the Republic of Cuba are committed to directing Cuban migration into safe, legal and orderly channels consistent with strict implementation of the 1984 joint communique. Accordingly, the United States will continue to issue, in conformity with United States law, immediate relative and preference immigrant visas to Cuban nationals who apply at the U.S. Interests Section and are eligible to immigrate to the United States. The United States also commits, through other provisions of United States law, to authorize and facilitate additional lawful migration to the United States from Cuba. The United States ensures that total legal migration to the United States from Cuba will be a minimum of 20,000 Cubans each year, not including immediate relatives of United States citizens.
As an additional, extraordinary measure, the United States will facilitate in a one-year period the issuance of documentation to permit the migration to the United States of those qualified Cuban nationals in Cuba currently on the immigrant visa waiting list. To that end, both parties will work together to facilitate the procedures necessary to implement this measure. The two governments agree to authorize the necessary personnel to allow their respective interests sections to implement the provisions of this communique effectively.
The United States and the Republic of Cuba agreed that the voluntary return of Cuban nationals who arrived in the United States or in safe havens outside the United States on or after August 19, 1994, will continue to be arranged through diplomatic channels.
The United States and the Republic of Cuba agreed to continue to discuss the return of Cuban nationals excludable from the United States.
Review of Agreement
The representatives of the United States and the Republic of Cuba agree to meet no later than 45 days from today’s announcement to review implementation of this Joint Communique. Future meetings will be scheduled by mutual agreement.